A Fondue Farewell

My stepdaughter Shannon has been in town for the last 2 weeks, and the other night we were talking about foods we love.  She said, “I love cheese.”  What a coincidence. I love cheese!

“I really love fondue.”

I do, too!

Once we had established that she did, in fact, like the traditional Swiss kirsch-infused stinkyish cheese variety, I decided to make some for her farewell dinner before she returned to Florida.

Bring in the big guns.   My husband’s best friend Martin is Swiss, currently living in Basel, Switzerland.  And, he is one of the best cooks I know.  6 years ago we went on a sailing trip with him and his family through the Greek Cyclades.  Usually we ate at local tavernas for dinner, but one night Martin went to a tiny market, bought some mushrooms and some other scarce supplies, and whipped up some of the best risotto I’ve ever had.  This is his cheese fondue recipe, but I have dubbed it “Fondue Farewell” in honor of Shannon.

2015-01-05 18.44.20

2015-01-05 21.15.24

2015-01-05 21.15.35

2015-01-05 21.15.302015-01-05 21.15.28

Fondue Farewell

Serves 4 generously

Prep time:  30 minutes or less, depending on how many dippers you have to prepare.  I parboiled the carrots and potatoes, which added about 15 minutes.

Cook time:  15 minutes


800 g (28 oz) of cheese, grated.  (I used 2 types of Gruyere and 1 type of Emmentaler to make it authentically Swiss, but Martin also suggested Appenzeller, Brie, or a Portuguese hard cheese with peppercorns)

1 cup white wine or champagne

2 tsp corn starch

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

Splash of Kirschwasser or Kirsch (not the sweet stuff)

Grating of Nutmeg

Pepper to taste

Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, new potatoes, gherkins, french bread, sausage, green apples…the possibilities are endless and totally up to you!


1.  Chop dippers into bite-sized pieces.

2.  Parboil any dippers you don’t want to eat raw by bringing a pot of water to boil.  Salt the water and drop the veggies (I did carrots and potatoes and left the broccoli and cauliflower raw) into the water separately for 5 minutes each.  Drain in a colander.

3.  Place cheese, wine, corn starch and garlic in fondue pot or saucepan.

2.  Heat slowly over low heat, stirring constantly.

3.  When the cheese mixture is hot, add nutmeg, fresh ground pepper, and Kirsch

4.  Place the fondue pot on the table with the bowls of dippers, and have at it!

– The cooked vegetables will need to be slightly firm so they stay on the fondue fork, so don’t overcook them.
– You don’t need a fondue pot to serve fondue.  I know many people who heat everything up on the stove, then serve it in a bowl, and heat it up from time to time throughout the meal.
–  If you want to speed up the melting of the cheese, you can do it on top of the stove instead of in the fondue pot.
– Do NOT skip the corn starch.  This prevents the cheese from separating.  If you do not have cornstarch, make a roux out of flour and butter.

Pair with a dry Reisling or white burgundy (we had a Pouilly Fuisse), or an off-dry wine that will cut through the richness of the cheese.

This dinner was not only a fond farewell to Shannon, but to our wicked holiday-eating ways….but oh, what a sendoff!

Yelping On The Plains

As a Yelp Elite, I get lots of opportunities to attend outings with other lovely Yelpers, where we get to experience a bit of culture, eat some food, and drink some drinks.

Yesterday we rode out east to the Plains Conservation Center in Aurora, Colorado to attend Yelp’s Harvest Hoopla!


The Plains is a 1000 acre (and 9000 additional acres 30 miles further east) outdoor education facility, where kids of all ages can learn a bit about the 19th century prairie settlers, the Cheyenne Indians, and all kinds of prairie wildlife.  It started in 1949 to educate farmers in farming and ranching techniques to avoid another dust bowl disaster.  It is now an educational non-profit, funded by private donations. The best part?  It’s FREE!  They do have programs that will charge a nominal fee, such as guided nature walks, bird watching , and constellation programs.  The site also hosts a farm to table dinner each season, where the chefs use cooking techniques of the era.  But for 6 days a week you can stroll the grounds at no charge, for as long as it’s open.


The grounds are just lovely, in a windblown, Little House On The Prairie sort of way.  You could spend all day out here, listening to the prairie dogs warning each other of your presence (did you know their yips have adjectives?),

checking out the sod houses…


or the one room schoolhouse….


petting the big cows, chasing chickens, or viewing the reptiles in the prairie house.  Want to ride your bike?  Come on out, and avoid the crowds on the metro bike paths.  With 1000 acres to explore, there’s a good chance you will have some privacy.

This is an especially great place for kids to run around and get some fresh air, and learn something in the process.

Our event was hosted by Big City Burrito, Dry Dock Brewing and Dry Soda.  Yummy!